Bushido, the Soul of Japan (1905) by Inazo Nitobe - PDF ebook

Bushido, the Soul of Japan: an exposition of Japanese thought by Inazo Nitobe

Bushido, the Soul of Japan

Excerpt from the author's introduction:

About ten years ago, while spending a few days under the hospitable roof of the distinguished Belgian jurist, the lamented M. de Laveleye, our conversation turned, during one of our rambles, to the subject of religion. " 

Do you mean to say," asked the venerable professor, " that you have no religious instruction in your schools?" On my replying in the negative he suddenly halted in astonishment, and in a voice which I shall not easily forget, he repeated " No religion! How do you impart moral education?" The question stunned me at the time. I could give no ready answer, for the moral precepts I learned in my childhood days, were not given in schools; and not until I began to analyze the different elements that formed my notions of right and wrong, did I find that it was Bushido that breathed them into my nostrils. 

The direct inception of this little book is due to the frequent queries put by my wife as to the reasons why such and such ideas and customs prevail in Japan.

 In my attempt to give satisfactory replies to M. de Laveleye and to my wife, I found that without understanding Feudalism and Bushido,* the moral ideas of present Japan are a sealed volume. Taking advantage of enforced idleness on account of a long illness, I put down in the order now presented to the public some of the answers given in our household conversation.

 They consist mainly of what I was taught and told in my youthful day. when Feudalism was still in force. Between Lafcadio Hearn and Mrs Hugh Fraser on one side and Sir Ernest Satow and Professor Chamberlain on the other, it is indeed discouraging to write anything Japanese in English. T

Inputting Japanese words tind names into English, Hepburn's rule is followed, that the fowls should be used as in European languages, and the consonants as in English, writers are at best solicitors and attorneys. I have often thought, — " Had I their gift of language, I would present the cause of Japan in more eloquent terms!" But one who speaks in a borrowed tongue should be thankful if he can just make himself intelligible. All through the discourse, I have tried to illustrate whatever points I have made with parallel examples from European history and literature, believing that these will aid in bringing the subject nearer to the comprehension of foreign readers. 

Should any of my allusions to religious subjects and to religious workers be thought slighting, I trust my attitude towards Christianity itself will not be questioned. It is with ecclesiastical methods and with the forms which obscure the teachings of Christ, and not with the teachings themselves, that I have little sympathy.

 I believe in the religion taught by Him and handed down to us in the New Testament, as well as in the law written in the heart. Further, I believe that God hath made a testament which may be called "old" with every people vii Piety, which is considered one o. the two. wheels of the chariot of Japanese ethics — Loyalty being the other. My inability is due rather to my ignorance of the Western sentiment in regard to this particular virtue than to ignorance of our own attitude towards it, and I cannot draw comparisons satisfying to my own mind. 
I hope one day to enlarge upon this and other topics at some length. All the subjects that are touched upon in these pages are capable of further amplification and discussion, but I do not now see my way clear to make this volume larger than it is. This Preface would be incomplete and unjust, if I were to omit the debt I owe to my wife for her reading of the proof sheets, for helpful suggestions, and, above all, for her constant encouragement.

Contents of the book

 I. BUSHIDO AS AN EtHICAL SYSTEM... II, — Sources of Bushido III. — Rectitude or Justice. IV. — Courage, the Spirit of Dar iNG and Bearing V. — Benevolence, the Feeling OF Distress VI. — Politeness VII. — ^Veracity and Sincerity VIII. — Honour... IX. — The Duty of Loyalty. X. — Education and Training of a Samurai. XI. — Self-Control XII. — The Institutions of Suicide AND Redress. XIII. — The Sword, the Soul of the Samurai.XIV. — The Training and Position OF Woman. , 133 XV. — ^The Influence of Bushido. 158 XVI. — Is Bushido Still Alive?. 168 XVII. — ^The Future of Bushido. 182

the book details :
  • Author: Inazo Nitobe
  • Publication date: 1905
  • Company: Tokyo: Teibi Pub. Co.

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